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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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Women’s soccer postseason ends in second-round loss to John Carroll

Courtesy of CWRU Athletics
The CWRU women’s soccer season comes to a close with a 0-1 loss to John Carroll University.

The Case Western Reserve University women’s soccer team hosted the first two rounds of the NCAA Division III Championship tournament this past weekend. Finishing off their season with 11-1-4 overall and 3-1-3, the Spartans were gearing up for a strong playoff push. After trouncing Grove City College on Nov. 11 by 5-1, CWRU fell 0-1 to Cleveland rival John Carroll University the very next day.

Against Grove City, the Spartan offense completely dominated the game. In front of a home crowd on DiSanto Field, second-year forward Alexis Sassower hit a turnaround shot from the edge of the box to put the Spartans up 1-0 in the 20th minute of the game. It marked the second goal of her career.

Though CWRU attempted 18 shots in the first half, they could not find the back of the net. However, the defense remained stalwart as ever, preventing the Wolverines from getting a single shot attempt in the first half.

The floodgates opened in the second half. Second-year midfielder Ceci Dapino notched her third goal of the season in the 53rd minute. Less than eight minutes later, third-year Carolyn Koutures scored her fourth goal of the campaign off an assist from second-year forward Molly Shamah. In the 66th minute, Dapino set up fourth-year forward Helina VanBibber for her third goal of the year, recording her first assist of the year and putting the Spartans up 4-0.

Grove City managed a score off a header from a corner kick, but second-year forward Maggie Farra put the cherry on top in the 89th minute to seal the game 5-1.

CWRU outshot Grove City 32-3 overall and 15-1 in shots on goal, not allowing a shot attempt from the Wolverines until the 71st minute. CWRU also led in corner kicks 11-2.

With the victory, the Spartans moved to the second round to face John Carroll. In the first game of the regular season, the Spartans handed John Carroll their only loss of the season. The Blue Streaks were out for revenge and they got it, but not without a fight from the Spartans.

The loss was truly heartbreaking, because CWRU dominated possession for most of the game. The Spartans had a 32-9 advantage in total shots and 14-4 in shots on goal. John Carroll slipped in their sole goal of the game in the 26th minute. Fourth-year Spartan goalie Maggie Storti deflected the corner kick attempt but John Carroll recovered it and scored a goal from 27 yards. Storti leapt to block it but the ball was just out of her reach. The Blue Streaks jumped ahead 1-0.

In the final 20 minutes of the first half, the Spartans took 14 shots to John Carroll’s 6 but could not equalize the score. It was a similar story in the second half. Dapino and fourth-year midfielder Aniya Hartzler both had unsuccessful free kicks. Farra had an opportunity in the final minute but her shot went just a little wide of the post.

The Blue Streaks held on for the 1-0 win, giving the Spartans their first loss to a non-nationally-ranked team since Oct. 18, 2019.

The loss concluded the Spartans’ season. They qualified for the tournament for the fourth-straight time and reached at least the second round for the third-straight year. The current senior class holds the highest winning percentage of any group in program history, sporting a 48-5-7 record over the last three years.

On Nov. 13, five members of the women’s team were awarded All-University Athletic Association honors. Hartzler was named to the First Team as a defender, second-year midfielders Jamie Goldfarb and Mackenzie Mueller received Second Team honors and Sassower and Storti received honorable mentions.

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About the Contributor
Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor
Puneet Bansal (she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in biochemistry and medical anthropology. She loves obsessing over food, spending time outdoors or annoying her friends. Hailing from the Bay Area, she is an ardent Golden State Warriors fan and finds it daunting to sport her Stephen Curry jersey around Cleveland.

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